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Burtt Residence

San Rafael, California

Project History and Client Goals

The original design of the house was an outstanding example of an urban Shingle Style building with Craftsman Style detailing. Built in 1910, it had a formal floor plan with a center-located foyer and stairway that were flanked by a living-room and a dining room. As in most homes of the period, the sleeping quarters were located on the upper floor. Although situated on a corner lot, the original house had only one façade that was architecturally representative of the period. The other three facades lacked any interest or Craftsman Style motifs.

The clients wanted to restore the house and to add space that would provide flexibility for more than one family to live in the home at one time. They also requested a new half-basement to house a third apartment and a utility area.

Design Focus

My focus was on restoring and enhancing the original house and making the new addition appear as if it has always been there. Also, I felt it was very important to preserve the architectural context of the house within a neighborhood of similar period buildings and, by doing so, preserving the history of a very unique neighborhood in the city of San Rafael.


The main accomplishment of this project is that all of the carefully orchestrated details contribute to the building’s architectural authenticity, and most of all, to the visual continuity and historical preservation of a treasured neighborhood in the city of San Rafael.